Most offenders are not sentenced to prison, but instead are given sentences to serve in the community. They will either do unpaid work, get job training, receive psychological help, or all three. Find out how it works and how you can get involved in deciding what sentences offenders serve in your area.
Types of community sentences
Judges and magistrates will consider what crime each person has committed, and look at why they did it and how likely they are to commit another crime. They then decide on the specific community sentence each person should get.
Offenders can be ordered to do any of the following as part of their sentence:
- Community Payback - between 40 and 300 hours of unpaid work (see below)
- complete job training
- attend school
- complete a treatment programme to deal with anger control, drug use, alcohol abuse
- avoid activity, such as visits to pubs or football matches
- abide by a curfew, monitored by an electronic tag
- complete a residence sentence (which would mean they must live at a specified place, such as a probation hostel)
- get mental health treatment
- fulfil a supervision sentence (which requires them to have regular appointments with a probation officer)
- go to an attendance centre, where 18 to 24 year-olds receive help dealing with the issues that led them into crime
Community Payback is unpaid work done by criminals as part of their community sentences.
Convicted criminals serving their sentences are easy to spot, wearing bright orange jackets as they do work such as:
- cleaning up litter
- clearing public land
- repairing and redecorating community centres and other buildings
- removing graffiti
Local residents can make suggestions online of projects theyd like to see done by offenders serving community sentences. These can range from cleaning up litter in a park, to removing graffiti from a school wall, or clearing fly-tipped rubbish from the street.
To get involved you can contact your local Probation Service office. They can give you a form to fill in, or you may be able to download the form off their websites.
- Nominate a Community Payback project Opens new window
If the rules are broken
If a criminal who has been given a community sentence break the rules of that sentence, they are sent back to court and given an additional punishment.
In some cases they are sentenced to prison.
More useful links
- Criminal justice
This content is subject to Crown Copyright